Dog law outdated

2013-08-19 00:00

According to a report from the municipality’s licensing unit, to date there are just 1 264 dogs licensed in the city.

Nalini Naidoo

SHOULD the city continue the process of dog licensing?

That was the discussion up for debate at last week’s Msunduzi council’s executive committee (Exco).

Members of the Exco were told on Thursday that a report had been prepared on the discontinuation of dog licensing and had been discussed in the Economic Development Portfolio Committee. Members of that committee felt it should be abolished.

Some arguments for the abolition were that the administration of a licence costs more than the licence itself.

Deputy municipal manager for economic development Dr Ray Ngcobo said they were told that a dog licence cost about R57 and the basic administration cost was R112. This did not take into account issues of enforcement.

Ngcobo added that dog licensing was a very old bylaw meant for affluent areas so that when a dog was found loitering it could be confiscated and the dog owner made to pay. He said that it was not a bylaw that could be currently enforceable, especially in peri-urban areas where dogs are a source for food security and used for hunting.

Councillor Bill Lambert (DA) said: “We have been discussing this on and off for years. There are pros and cons on whether dog licences should be issued for control purposes, but the bylaws we have are not enforceable.”

He asked for the entire matter to be debated and suggested that the SPCA be invited to give some input. “They are the organisation that knows most about such matters. At one stage … we said to the SPCA that they take over the dog licensing and any money collected will be a contribution to the SPCA. I don’t know what the outcome of that was. There are far more dogs unlicensed than there are licensed, even in the traditional old neighbourhoods,” Lambert said.

Maureen Vida, spokesperson of the Pietermaritzburg SPCA, said a dog licensing system was crucial to the well being of any city.

Vida said this was not just an animal welfare issue, but also about controlling disease in a city and controlling the over-population of dogs. She added that recently there had been far too many incidents of dogs biting people. The SPCA would like to be part of any discussion in the municipality on the issue of dog licensing as keeping control of animals was an important aspect of any city’s well being, she said.

“We would welcome and fully support a well-managed, fair dog licensing system. The fee could be structured to promote responsible pet ownership. A heavy penalty should be imposed on owners of unsterilised dogs and unscrupulous backyard breeders. This would encourage sterilisation and help to curb the escalating number of unwanted and homeless dogs,” Vida said.

According to a report from the municipality’s licensing unit to date there are just 1 264 dogs licensed in the city.

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